tv Coronavirus BBC News September 6, 2020 12:30am-1:00am BST
this is bbc news. the headlines: scientists are predicting that deaths from coronavirus could double in the us before the end of the year, with up to 3,000 deaths a day in december. the projection comes as uk heath officials express concern that cases could rise with students returning to university. an opposition activist from belarus says she was driven to the polish border by the security services and forced to leave the country. 0lga kovalkova said if she had not agreed to leave the country, she would have faced a long spell injail. uk prime minister borisjohnson has condemned as "completely u na cce pta ble" protests that disrupted deliveries of several national newspapers friday. activists from the extinction rebellion group blocked access to three printing works owned by rupert murdoch. 80 people were arrested during the demonstrations. civil servants in england are being urged by the government to return to work
in their offices. in a letter seen by the bbc, the government wants 80% of civil servants to be at their workplace at least once a week by the end of the month. unions have described the government's attitude as outdated. 0ur political correspondent chris mason has more. usually vibrant, bustling, dynamic, and yet for much of the last six months, many of our city centres have looked like this. it's time for that to change, says the government. the head of the civil service, sir mark sedwill, says the prime minister believes... this is whitehall, home to loads of government departments. it's actually relatively busy here today but still pretty quiet on weekdays. the government wants four in five civil servants in england to be back at their desks for at least some of the week by the end of this month, with more and more people worrying that unless public and private
sector workers return to the office, there could be huge economic consequences. if we don't see workers coming back until the new year, and workers are a big driver of footfall in city centres, particularly on a monday to friday, then we might see a huge wave of closures and a huge wave of redundancies as a result. but some believe changes in where many people have worked in recent months will be permanent. what the government are doing are virtue signalling, using the civil service, not because it's a more efficient way of operating, but because they want to send a signal to the private sector. they are dreaming about a world of work which has, quite frankly, gone. in scotland, wales and northern ireland, the message is still to work from home if you can. but in england, the government is hoping that more people can be persuaded back to their workplace. chris mason, bbc news. now on bbc news, this week's edition of my programme — coronavirus: your stories — about people's extraordinary
experiences during the pandemic and how covid—i9 has changed their lives. welcome to coronavirus: your stories, a programme about how covid—i9 is changing lives around the world. i'm philippa thomas — and this week, we're looking at education, where there's been enormous upheaval over the past six months. as country after country went into lockdown, millions of schools closed their doors. those that were able to took their teaching online. now, in many places, we are in back—to—school season and this week, we hear stories about how the pandemic has already transformed teaching and what it feels like when going back to the classroom is not an easy option.
later, we'll speak to an american intern here in the uk who's campaigning for students like herself who are immuno—compromised, and so most at risk for going back on campus. first, two teachers with two very different stories about how they've adapted during the pandemic. peter tabichi is a science teacher in remote, rural kenya who took home the varkey foundation global teacher prize last year. jamie frost is a london maths teacher who's a finalist for that award this year. jamie, if i can come to you first. here in the uk, covid has meant remote teaching. how has that been for you? we've been able to continue lessons to a degree, but we've done our best to try and maintain the usual routine of a school day.
the lessons are at normal times, we encourage having as many live meetings as possible. i teach from powerpoint, i can still use those, ijust have to annotate virtually. i can still speak to students. so it's been very different, but it's been interesting how it's sort of, in some ways, become a kind of new norm. we've been doing it for so long that it just became we've been doing it for so long that itjust became relatively normal. peter, i think your story is different. how has the coronavirus changed the way you teach? i can say it has had a very negative impact. as a teacher, we are used to going to class and teaching face—to—face, but right now it's not happening. and i can say that many educators and teachers can
agree with me that face—to—face teaching is very important. i can say that teaching science is not very easy at the moment, because you need the practical aspects. you need to have students around with you. you know, putting them in groups. right now, it's not possible. that's one of the challenges i'm experiencing. it's not possible to achieve that. not having the routine of school has impacted my students in many ways. for example, they greatly miss their friends because, every day, they were interacting with them. they are not able to have access to things like counselling and even free meals. jamie, there's clearly a different story between the two schools. but the fact that pupils, that all of us are social beings, that must make a difference for the students you're teaching too? indeed, i have some of the same problems as peter.
the fact that we don't have the face—to—face interaction, in terms of pastoral support for the students, obviously, it's still much more difficult without being able to see them face—to—face. i've been trying to organise at least weekly form for students just to check on their welfare and such, and catch up with them. but it has been more difficult, and when these students can't see each other because they have to isolate in their own houses... and i know they communicate via social media apps and such, in a similar way they would when they're coming to school anyway, but it's just not the same, and i think students will be incredibly glad when they can come back to school and have that normal interaction between each other. i want to ask you a bit more about how you teach. jamie, even before the pandemic, you were something of a whiz with virtual teaching. tell us a little bit
about that. yeah, so i run a platform that's used by several thousand schools. here's an example of the video. it's been used a lot during the pandemic, because the certain software i developed that helps schools in terms of teaching... you have thinks like the teaching resources, and a number of teachers have been using my slides. some have been making youtube videos, where they have been teaching my slides, which have been great. there's also the example of a virtual whiteboard, which i use an awful lot during my teaching, so that allows me to connect with my students. i've been trying to adapt my technology since the lockdown so i can support students better. for example, one thing
i was doing before lockdown, i might set a gcse paper during lessons, but via my platform. i can basically sit on my computer and see live the answers coming in, so i can identify what question students have misconceptions with. you can imagine how helpful that's been during the lockdown, so i have adapted it so they can see live without me having to refresh what they are doing. i can still get the same results without seeing the students visually. peter, you're in a very rural area of kenya. getting online is not that easy for students. tell me about the way you're trying to use technology. students don't have access to the computers. even in my own school, we don't have the facilities. what i'm doing right now is... i support the idea that learning is a continuous process. even if the students are not in school, learning should still take
place and is not limited to the four walls of a classroom. i give them affordable mobile phones — because that's what they can afford right now — and then at the same time, i give them weekly internet bundles because they have to be connected. without that, you cannot connect to them. and then at the same time, apart from the phones and internet bundles, i co—operate with other teachers to give them continuous online mentorship because that's very important — for them to know how to use these mobile phones, which websites to use, like what my colleague from uk has said. he has a very nice website which they can use off—line. most of the time, we don't have internet around here. and then the other thing that i do as part of this programme is that we also help parents and guardians with teaching tips.
even my own father, most of the things i learned, i learned from my parents. my own father was a teacher. therefore i can say that learning can take place at home, notjust at school, and therefore it helps balance the guidance with teaching tips. they can also help their children learn about practical aspects and life skills while at home. jamie, i wonder if you've got any reflections on what peter said. it's a very holistic approach to education. i know my school is in a very lucky situation compared to peter's, in terms of availability of internet and such. i think it's how we can best use resources we have to support students in that completely holistic way. jamie, one report that's come out in the uk this week says that what the pandemic has done
is shown that those who are better off have done better from education. more resources at schools, at home, etc. those who are worse off, socially, economically, have really struggled, may have lost as much as three months of education. that, i suppose, a worry for the whole teaching community. absolutely. and why i think it's so imperative that we make sure, and it's the‘s government responsibility, to ensure all students have a device with reliable internet that they can access education. technology has so much power to transform education, but we have to make sure that every student has the kind of appropriate access to it. peter, i'd like to know more about what's been happening to your students. how would you say the pandemic has affected your community? the community has been affected, everyone has been affected. we used to go to school and we had that routine. you know you are going to wake
up, you teach, you interact with students, and then with the other teachers in the staffroom. but right now, that's not happening. and i can say that that has had a psychosocial effect on us, on the students and even the community. currently, many students are staying at home with their parents, and i can say a majority are doing nothing to keep them active. young people like being active and interactive with others, and this has led to boredom. i'm sorry to say that we have seen cases whereby this has resulted to things like drug abuse, even teenage pregnancy. even marriage. as teachers, we fear some students might not be able to report back to schools when the schools are going to reopen.
i hope that is going to happen soon. our students used to have free meals. right now, that's not happening, because most of our students come from very poor homes. there is a food shortage. some parents are trying to teach their children. i can say this is the time when they are appreciating the importance of our teachers. they are now seeing the great work that the teachers are doing. but i can say there is some light at the end of the tunnel. and that's why i'm so happy with the initiative being taken by the minister of education and the government to ensure they come up with a solution on how to ensure to be safe in schools. when the schools reopen, that the students are safe and the teachers are safe, and that learning continues. 0ne silver lining, i can say this as a parent, is that parents really appreciate teachers, having seen much more of what they do.
jamie, afinal thought from you. do you think education really has changed forever? i think there's certain practices that i think will change as we come back into teaching. ithink, obviously, schools have been incredibly reliant on technology in the uk. this is my first day of school — we were discussing how we will reuse that technology more, even though we are in school now. certain things like parents meetings online now, and certain aspects of our lesson, we can still use the same technology. there will be certain things that will be back to normal, my teaching is not going to change drastically, but certainly, i think there will be a great reliance on technology as we come back to normal teaching. peter tabichi in kenya's rift valley and jamie frost here in london, two of the many ingenious and inspiring teachers around the world
determined not to let the virus stop them. you're watching coronavirus: your stories, a programme about how covid—i9 is changing so many lives around the world. i'm philippa thomas — and this week, we're looking at education. it's back—to—school season for so many students. but what if you want to keep studying online because you're clinically vulnerable? you feel like going back to school could actually damage your health. 19—year—old cameron lynch is just finishing an internship here in london with disability rights uk. she's due to continue her education back home in virginia in the united states but worries that, after months of online learning, physically going back to school could pose a serious risk to her health. when she spoke up about this, she realised she's not alone. cameron has been telling her story. i have type one diabetes, a form of muscular dystrophy
called myositis and celiac disease. returning to campus for fall is dangerous for my health, and i believe that i'm not necessarily given the same opportunities as my able—bodied peers in order to take the same classes and have the same graduation track as i am supposed to. so i have been trying to make sure that i still get the same educational opportunities as my other peers and to make sure that i am not falling behind in my work and trying to do the same for other students with disabilities as well. tell us about the letter that you wrote. you put it on social media and what happened? so injune, i wrote a letter talking to my college—aged peers about their use of social media broadcasting. that they didn't care about the isolation or the pandemic and were continuing living their lives was impacting my mental health
because i was still in complete isolation, still hadn't seen anyone for a couple months. so it was very hurtful to me to watch my friends go about their lives, and i didn't expect this to happen, but i had maybe a0 other college students with disabilities or with autoimmune conditions reach out to me, telling me how much my letter meant to them and how they felt less alone. so i then turned this into a support group for immunocompromised college students to have people to talk to and have someone who understands their frustrations. can you give us an idea of the range of disabilities or vulnerabilities that the students you're talking to are dealing with? there's 50 of us in the group. we have a very wide range of conditions. we have some students who are in wheelchairs, there's a lot of students with diabetes, similar to myself. but we kind of have a lot of autoimmune conditions.
and right now, this week, in many countries, there's a lot of talk about going back to school and it's seen as a physical thing. moving back onto schools, campuses, but for you, do you feel the conversation simply overlooks you ? yes, i would say so. i would say there are very few schools who have even acknowledged their immunocompromised students, or even acknowledge the presence of us and acknowledging this is a very difficult time for us. we've been in complete isolation for five months now. and it's not an option for us to go back to school. i think there's a lot of narrative about choosing to go back or not choosing. if i could choose, i would be back on campus at my school in a heartbeat, but i don't have that decision. that was already made for me by my health and by my doctors, so i am staying at home. and my biggest concern moving
forward is i'm worried that students who are still at home are getting left out of the conversation and out of communities, so i'm trying to increase awareness for the mental health of students with disabilities, because i know that a lot of them are feeling completely isolated and completely alone. so how can we make sure they still feel cared for and still feel like their universities or colleges still know who they are? and what, cameron, would make enough of a difference? what specifically are you asking for? is it more classes to be also available online? yes. so i think there has been confusion of what i'm asking for. i'm not saying i want all classes to be only available online. i'm just asking that we have the same opportunities to take classes that able—bodied students have. so, if the class is only offered in person, we obviously can't take that class. so i'm just asking for them
to consider us and consider us in their decision about classes and having them available to us, even if we're not on campus. we know they can do it. it's not beyond their jurisdiction. they did in the spring, when they shut down campus, and they have continued to show that if a student were to get covid—i9, they can continue their classes online from quarantine, so why can't we do that from the beginning? student years are often meant to be the best years of your life. yes. yes, and i think there's a rhetoric around college as "these are the best four years of your life, you will never have the same life again." and i think it's very damaging for mental health students who aren't able to live that life. and to begin with, disabled students don't get the same kind of college experience that
normal college students get, so this rhetoric of "this is the best time you'll ever have, these are the best days of your life," that's not necessarily true for everyone. we have to fight to even go to college in the first place, so it is hard to hear that i will never be as happy as i am in these four years when i'm still sitting at home, trying to maintain a sense of healthiness and trying to just take my classes and do my internship. does it expose that and provide an opportunity? you are a great example of a student with disabilities, clinically vulnerable, speaking up and getting others to hear you. yes, i think it definitely, as much as this pandemic has been stressful and has been kind of a very terrible time to have disabilities, has given me a community.
i've met so many students who also have disabilities who... i kind of felt alone before and having to fight for my rights at school and having to do all of this. and i've been able to help other students realise that they're not alone and that they have a sense of community still, even if it is a virtual sense, and we've already talked about, one day, after all of this is over, meeting up and finding a way to connect in person. so i think it's definitely given me a community. it's also given me a voice and it's given me a passion through this project. i started an internship at disability rights uk, which has also given me a great platform to continue to work for change in the uk. and i'm able to be a voice for young people with disabilities, because we're often forgotten about in the media. and i think that it's really important to bring awareness that people like me still exist in the world. we're still people.
not all young adults are out partying with their friends. there are still people like me who are still scared and still needing to take it very seriously. what do you say to young adults in that situation? there'll be a lot of people who are watching who are alone and may be struggling in the way you described. i would say that you are not alone. there are a lot of people out there who are still having to take it seriously and still in your position, and know that, eventually, this will be over, and you will be stronger for it. young people with disabilities, we're fighters. we know the meaning of life and we know, from a younger age, our own health, what it takes to survive, which sounds dramatic.
so, we have a greater sense of empathy, i would say. so use that to your advantage. how can you speak up for what you believe in and speak up for what you need? because a lot of times, we have to fight for everything. how can we make it so that the people who are younger than us won't have to fight as much or as hard? cameron lynch on the dilemma for clinically vulnerable students like her who want to pursue their learning without damaging their health. i'm philippa thomas. thank you for watching this week's coronavirus: your stories. hello. we can sum the weather up this weekend as sunshine and showers. and the showers through saturday were most frequent across scotland, northern ireland and northern england. that focus shifts slightly
as we head through sunday. still some showers around courtesy of this feature, but this time the focus is across england and wales. so, a drier day for scotland and northern ireland with some spells of sunshine. in fact, most of us will see some spells of sunshine through sunday, but we do need to watch out for those showers. most frequent through the morning across northern england, into wales and the midlands. could be heavy, maybe even thundery. sliding their way south and eastwards, perhaps a few sharp ones down into lincolnshire and east anglia. as i said, many will be dry with some spells of sunshine, and lighter winds as well compared to saturday, so it should feel a bit warmer, 16—20 celsius for many. a little bit cooler further north across scotland. then we see rain and cloud arriving into western scotland and northern ireland through the evening and overnight, slowly pushing its way eastwards. ahead of that, a lot of cloud spilling into southern scotland, northern england and north wales. where we've got the cloud and the rain, temperatures will easily stay in double figures, but where you've got some clearer skies, particularly further south, still in single figures. and we start the new week
with a north—south split. so, wetter and windier to the north of the uk, drier and increasingly warm and humid further south. so, on monday, rain already across northern ireland and scotland will sink its way slowly south and eastwards, tending to fizzle out as it does so, but likely to see some rain into northern england, parts of wales, south west england, drier the further south and east you are, but with increasing cloud. and perhaps some gusty winds for a time across the north of england, into scotland and northern ireland. but despite the breeze, the cloud and the rain, temperatures will still be in the high teens across the north of the uk and perhaps up to 20—21 celsius further south and east. and we hold on to that plume of warmth as we head through tuesday. and for some on wednesday, although the temperatures start to come down across the north of the uk. tuesday is a mostly cloudy day. the best of the brightness will be the further east you are. likely to see some rain into western scotland, maybe northern ireland, some patchy drizzle perhaps across the west of wales and south west england. but look at those temperatures, quite widely in the high teens to low 20s celsius. as we head through the middle part of the week, we'll hold on to that warmth and humidity further south and then turning
welcome to bbc news. i'm james reynolds. our top stories: a senior belarusian opposition activist takes refuge in poland, saying she's been forced to choose betweenjail and exile. india records 86,000 new coronavirus cases on saturday, a new global daily record. a rare and dangerous heatwave is hitting california. temperatures could hit 49 degrees celsius in some areas. the bolshoi ballet is back treading the boards after having to shut down for covid—i9.